How to Choose a Nursing School in Itasca Illinois
Searching for the best nursing school near Itasca IL may seem like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Itasca IL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Itasca IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Itasca IL. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Illinois community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Illinois colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Itasca IL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Itasca IL. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be Illinois approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Itasca IL area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Illinois to make sure that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree in Illinois. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Itasca IL home, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Itasca IL as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Itasca IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Itasca IL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Illinois school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Itasca IL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Itasca IL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Itasca IL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Itasca IL
Picking the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most important step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Itasca IL.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should ready some approaches about how you would like to address them. Considering there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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